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California company accused of overexposing workers to toxic chemical



A California medical device company is accused of knowingly overexposing employees to dangerous levels of ethylene oxide, a toxic chemical linked to cancer development and reproductive health problems.

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health announced Tuesday that it issued $838,800 in penalties against Carson, Calif.-based Parter Medical Products Inc. for claims it failed to protect workers from the dangerous chemical.

The company uses ethylene oxide gas to sterilize medical equipment. Its odor is undetectable to humans until its concentration exceeds dangerous levels, according to Cal/OSHA.

The company was accused of failing to have an effective safety plan to evaluate and develop controls for hazards, failing to develop a respiratory protection plan, failing to monitor employee exposure and failing to notify workers of exposure to the chemical above permissible limits.

Cal/OSHA issued 1

8 summonses to the company, including six for willful and serious violations.

The company closed its Carson facility in early August 2022 after an investigation was launched into ethylene oxide emissions, and Cal/OSHA subsequently determined that cleanup efforts did not address the overexposure problem, according to regulators.

In a subsequent inspection in December 2022, Cal/OSHA determined that an employee had been overexposed to the chemical throughout his shift.

Cal/OSHA accused the company of overexposing employees to the chemical above permissible limits from 2019 to 2022.


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